Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Jews, Arabs and Entangling Alliances
As long as I can remember the Arabs and the Jews have been fighting in the Middle East. I can remember as a kid watching President Carter hosting Begin and Sadat as part of the Camp David accords. Supposedly, that summit was to bring a long lasting peace to the region. Of course, it didn’t work. The fighting and squabbling has continued over the past 30 years.
When I was a small child, I was attended a fundamentalist Baptist Church and school. The Church preached a dispensationalist theology. This theology basically claimed that we were living in the End Times and the Rapture would happen soon. I remember my third grade teacher telling us that while the bicentennial was approaching, it would not matter as Jesus was sure to come before 1976!
I remember reading Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. This book was basically Dispensational pornography. It told of coming plagues, rivers of blood, marks of the beast and other stuff that I found cool as a young boy. Church might have been boring. But talk of all the coming gore and bloodshed was exciting! The Anti-Christ was like this really cool Darth Vader personae. I listened to Rapture and Tribulation sermons like a horny old man leers at an exotic dancer. I was transfixed.
As part of this theology, we were taught that the Jews were God’s special people. And not “special” as a euphemism for retarded, but special in that God loved them more than the rest of us. All the cool characters in the Bible were Jews – Abraham, David, Jesus, etc. Gentiles were always a somewhat second rate category of people.
The theology of the church was a lens in which we viewed political matters. As the Jews were the Apple of God’s eye, they must always be the “good guys” in any conflict. It was muttered in the church halls that those dirty Arabs must be the Satanic offspring of Cain.
While I stopped attending Church in my teen years, I started to get involve with Conservative thought. This was during the 1970s before it was cool to be a Conservative. NO ONE back then liked conservatives or the military. As a conservative, I discovered magazines such as National Review that continued with the near deification of Jews. So I found this to be quite comfortable and familiar. Jews were the good guys. Arabs were the terrorists. Nice and clear definitions.
As I got older, I started to wonder why the USA had to spend more of foreign aid on Israel versus any other country. I mean, I always rooted for Israel in any conflict, but why should my tax money buy arms for a foreign country?
I also could not understand why so many Jews were hateful and bigoted towards Christianity. After all, we were brothers in the same cause. And, yet, most Jewish organizations seemed to attack most Christian (and traditional Conservative) values. It also disturbed me as a neophyte Libertarian that many Jewish organizations were lobbying for restrictions on Free Speech, especially in regards to the Holocaust. I believed that The Truth never needs censors.
As I traveled and worked in foreign countries I discovered that Moslems were not the some crazed, Satanic creatures. The Moslems I encountered were kind, respectful and funny. Funny? How can a Moslem have a sense of humor? This shook my world view.
(As part of my penance, I created a video that illustrated the destructiveness of Christian Zionism.)
I now understand that people are people. Some of the nicest people I have meet have been Jews. Some of the biggest assholes have been Jews. The same hold true for Arabs and other ethnic groups.
The problem becomes when the United States unofficially assumes, like I did years ago, that Jews are good and Moslems are bad. This leads to entangling alliances. And such Alliances leads to events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks.
We as a country, need to remove ourselves from these ancient hatreds and fighting. Let them fight without our involvement.